Why Solar Panels Are Covered in Glass

Solar panel installation

It’s a common misconception that solar panels are made entirely of a photovoltaic material. While they are made mostly of a photovoltaic material like silicon or gallium, they typically contain glass as well.

Most solar panels feature a layer of glass over the photovoltaic layer. Glass, of course, doesn’t have the same energy-producing properties as silicon or gallium. Only photovoltaic materials can convert sunlight into electricity. Sunlight will simply pass through glass without producing electricity. Nonetheless, most solar panels are covered in a layer of glass.

Weather Protection

Solar panels are covered in glass for weather protection. The glass layer essentially shields the underlying photovoltaic layer from weather-related damage.

Whether installed on the roof or ground, solar panels will be exposed to the elements. They’ll have to endure rain, sleet, snow and wind. With a glass layer, solar panels can withstand harsh weather. The top layer is made of tempered glass, which is stronger and more durable than the underlying photovoltaic layer.


Another reason solar panels are covered in glass is to minimize the reflection of sunlight. The amount of electricity a solar panel generates is influenced by how much sunlight it receives. The more sunlight it receives, the more electricity the solar panel will produce. If an excessive amount of sunlight is reflected off the solar panel, it may fail to produce a sufficient amount of electricity.

The glass layer used on solar panels often features an anti-reflective coating. Anti-reflective coatings are designed to prevent light from reflecting off the surface with which they are used. With an anti-reflective coating, less sunlight will reflect off solar panels.

Prevents Shattering

Glass prevents solar panels from shattering. As previously mentioned, solar panels aren’t made with regular glass; they are made with tempered glass. The layer of tempered glass covering solar panels prevents them from shattering.

Tempered glass is used in a variety of products, including car windshields, office walls, tables and solar panels. It’s considered a type of “safety glass.” While regular glass will typically shatter under stress, tempered glass will only develop small fractures. You should still use caution when installing solar panels, but the presence of a tempered glass layer will typically prevent them from shattering.

In Conclusion

Most solar panels feature a layer of tempered glass, which is placed over the photovoltaic layer. It protects them from weather-related damage, allows for an anti-reflective coating and prevents shattering.

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